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24 September 2014

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Birmingham and Black Country
Black Hall of Fame - Music
Beverley Knight
Beverley Knight
Grammy and MOBO awards, UK number one hits and worldwide success are all shared by black music groups and artist that grew up in West Midlands.

Black Hall of Fame - Sport

Black Hall of Fame - TV

Beverley Knight works with Christian Aid

BBCi Music - Pato Banton music profile

BBCi Music - Steel Pulse music profile


Steel Pulse

UB40 website

Jamelia website

Apache Indian website

Beverley Knight website

Ruby Turner website

Andy and the Blue Notes wesbite

JD aka Dready
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites.


As part of Black History Month the BBC Birmingham website is looking for the greatest local black celebrities.

Who do you think is the greatest black sports, music or TV personality to come out of Birmingham and the Black Country.


Simply who is you favourite celebrity?

The winner will be announced on the website at the end of Black History month. Find out how you can vote.


View a printable version of this page.
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Steel Pulse

Steel Pulse
Steel Pulse

The UK's best, and most loved, roots band, Steel Pulse, is one of the few English reggae acts to gain respect in Jamaica.

Named after a popular racehorse Steel Pulse were formed at Birmingham's Handsworth Wood Secondary School. The group took conscious reggae to punk audiences in the 70s.

The UK's Grammy-winning reggae band have always remained close to their roots. They have always been committed to fighting injustice, educating the masses, and promoting positive messages through spiritually uplifting music.

"We deal with positive spirits. It means putting aside the guns, the drugs and all of the things that are ailments of society - especially the black communities right now". - Steel Pulse

Musical Youth

Musical Youth
Musical Youth

Formed at Duddeston Manor School in Birmingham, Musical Youth group featured two sets of brothers. Although schoolboys, the group managed to secure gigs at certain Birmingham pubs.

During the winter of 1982, the group released one of the fastest-selling singles of the year in "Pass The Dutchie". The infectious enthusiasm of the group's performance captured the public's imagination and propelled the record to number one in the UK charts.

They continued to have U.K. hits throughout 1983 with pop-reggae hybrids like "Heartbreaker" and "Tell Me Why." The group also appeared on Donna Summer's 1982 single, "Unconditional Love."

They fell from commercial grace and subsequently split up in 1985 when Seaton left the band. Plans to re-form were scotched when group member Patrick Waite, died of natural causes. After 20 years the original members Dennis Seaton and Michael Grant have reformed the group and are back in the recording studio.

Pato Banton

Pato Banton
Pato Banton

Patrick Murray aka Pato Banton, was born in Birmingham. Pato first came to the public's attention in 1982. His debut single, "Hello Tosh", was a novelty take on the Toshiba advertising campaign of 1985.

In the 90s Pato began to attract a large US following, where he had a tremendous live popularity. In 1994 IRS record label persuaded him to release a pop cover version. Backed by Robin and Ali Campbell of UB40 and written by Grant, Eddy, "Baby Come Back" became a worldwide success, selling one and a half million copies in Europe and Australia.

After his two sons were caught in the cross-fire of a shoot-out Pato Banton became actively involved in several anti-gun campaigns and has performed at peace concerts across the city. In the wake of increased gun violence in Birmingham reggae master Pato Banton recently recorded his album 'Stop The Guns'.



The multiracial band UB40 was formed in Birmingham in 1978. Named after the form issued to unemployed people in the UK to receive benefit, UB40 are the most long-lasting proponents of crossover reggae in the UK.

From the album Labour Of Love, the single "Red Red Wine" was released in August 1983. This number one single propelled them to major fame. From the album also came a string of hits came such as "Please Don't Make Me Cry" and "Many Rivers To Cross".

More tours and numerous albums followed, then after the release of The Best Of UB40, the group had a break and concentrated on various projects.

UB40 have tirelessly promoted reggae and ska, through no other motive than a love and respect for the music. They also own recording studios in Birmingham and actively promote new local talent.

UB40's career has spanned over two decades, with over 18 albums and over 40 single releases, selling 50 million records worldwide.

Apache Indian

Apache Indian

Apache Indian is an artist that has linked traditional Asian sounds with influences from mainstream Pop, Reggae and Hip Hop. Born in Handsworth (Birmingham, England), Steven Kapur AKA Apache Indian has been recognized for linking different cultures through music, and becoming the first true International Asian Pop Artist.

Apache Indian has enjoyed over a decade of success in the music business. He has released five albums as well as having been featured on various compilation albums. Apache has achieved 7 top forty hits in the British charts including the massive hit single BOOMSHACKALAK. He has collaborated with many top artists including Asha Bhosle, Frankie Paul and Pop legend Boy George. Apache Indian was the first Asian artist to have his very own show on National Radio One (UK) and presented MTV Reggae Sound System from Kingston, Jamaica.



Jamelia was born and raised in Handsworth, Birmingham.

Her musical direction has been influenced by America's urban R&B scene. At the age of 15 she was discovered by Parlophone records and signed a contract.

She first came into the public's attention in 2000 when her single Money, still her most recognised song and certainly her biggest success, peaked at No5 in the UK charts. Within 18 months Jamelia went on to have three more Top 40 hits. In 2000 she was nominated for four Mobo Awards and won one.

Jamelia’s career was put on hold for two years while she had a child, although she continued to write. Summer 2003 sees the return of Jamelia with a fresh new album release.



Wolverhampton born Clifford Joseph Price (aka Goldie) got his nickname long before he had his gold teeth. As a former Rastafarian his long golden dreadlocks earned him the nickname Goldilocks.

He is best known for his love of drum 'n' bass music. In 1995 he became famous for his best selling album 'Timeless', a futuristic jungle epic. The album shot straight into the UK charts at number seven, a first for a drum 'n' Bass artist.

Goldie has had several big budget film roles, most famously as Bullion in the James Bond film ‘The World is Not Enough’ in 1999. He also starred in Guy Ritchie's ‘Snatch’ and 'The Ninth Gate' with Johnny Depp. Most most recently he played a
gold-toothed gangster called Angel in Eastenders.
He also had a stint in the Celebrity Big Brother House but was voted out on the first week.

Beverley Knight

Beverley Knight
Beverley Knight

Soul Diva Beverley Knight was born in 1972 and grew up in Wolverhampton. She is a successful UK R&B singer/songwriter three-times Mobo Award winner, performer to the stars and an international success.

Beverley took the UK soul scene by storm in 1995 with her debut album B-Funk, which included hits such as 'Moving on Up' and the classic hit single ‘Flavour of the old school’. Beverley gained an international fanbase in more than 20 countries with fans as far afield as Australia and Brazil. 1998 saw the release of the hugely successful second album Prodigal Sista.

In 2002 a world away from the glitz and the glamour, Beverley Knight visited some of the poorest areas of Brazil. She was invited to be an ambassador for Christian Aid who working together with local Brazilian organisations tackle issues of poverty and raise awareness of HIV and Aids.

Beverley is currently continuing to raise funds for Christian Aid projects.

Bally Sagoo

Bally Sagoo
Bally Sagoo

Bally Sagoo was born in Delhi and raised in Birmingham. He became a popular DJ amongst the Asian community, mixing traditional Indian music with western beats. In 1989 Bally remixed Bhangra singer Malkit Singhs song 'Hey Jamalo Tutak, Tutak' which was an instant success world-wide.

Bally then went on to produce his first album 'Wham Bam'. The albums traditional Indian flavours and cutting edge western beats re-energised the Asian music scene opening a whole new world of possibilities for Asian artists. Bally was the first Asian artist to drag Asian music into the 20th century.

The album was a huge success. His first single 'Chura liya' broke all records by being the first ever Indian language song to enter the mainstream, UK charts, no one has managed to do it since.

Summer 2000 saw Bally winning the EMMA award (Ethnic Multicultural Media Award) beating off the likes of Jamelia and The Brand New Heavies.

Ruby Turner

Ruby Turner
Ruby Turner

Soul and R&B singer Ruby Turner was born in Handsworth, Birmingham. In 1986, her duet with Jonathon Butler, If You're Ready (Come Go With Me), gave her a first hit as it reached Number 30 in the UK Chart.

At this point Turner had already carved a reputation as a backing vocalist, appearing on records by UB40, Martha & The Muffins and Bryan Ferry.

From 1986 until the mid-nineties, Ruby had several further hits for the Jive label, including I'd Rather Go Blind (1987) and It's Gonna Be Alright (1990). Using her immense, soulful voice and songs penned by Womack And Womack, she gained a reputation for quality club and dance numbers.

In recent years Turner has continued her career as a session singer, working with Steve Winwood, UB40 and Steel Pulse, among others, whilst simultaneously working on solo material.

Ann Arscott

Ann Arscott
Ann Arscott

Ann is one of the best jazz singers to have come out of Birmingham. For many years she was the lead singer with Andy Hamilton and the Blue Notes, also working with Steel Pulse.

She moved to London to study music and has since toured the world with the Old Vic production of Carmen Jones.

Ann is a professional singer and actress with versitile talents that has embraced success in a variety of singing, acting and dancing roles in highly acclaimed productions throughout the world.

Macka B

Macka B
Macka B

Macka B was one of the most productive, distinctive and talented of MCs to emerge in Britain in the 80s. He first rose to local fame chatting for the Birmingham-based Wassifa hi-fi.

His large physique, stunning, topical lyrics and dreadlocked features made him an imposing presence on the mic. With the help of fellow Wolverhamptonite Macka Dub, Ariwa producer Mad Professor unleashed a monster with Macka B's debut LP, Sign Of The Times, which remains a classic to this day.

Mixing comic with roots anthems Macka B continues to be a huge influence within the reggae community.

JD (aka Dready)


Dubbed the British Busta Rhymes, JD aka Dready was born Aston in Birmingham. He has always been around music from when he was growing up.

He decided to leave Birmingham for London in 2001 to try and break into the music industry. It was only a few months before JD was introduced to So Solid Crew at the video shoot for 'They Don't Know'. Later, when they heard the unique and infectious vocal style of his demos, they invited him to rhyme for them.

Within months he started to work on solo material with Romeo, Lisa Maffia and Asher D. Since achieving the number two spot with Lisa Maffia's 'All Over' which JD produced, he has since remixed tracks for Mis-teeq, Ms Dynamite.

Andy Hamilton - (Jazz Legend )

Andy Hamilton
Andy Hamilton

Andy Hamilton has played his own rare style of Caribbean jazz for 50 years around the UK, Europe and the Caribbean.

Andy left Jamaica in 1949 and sailed to England, intending to make some money and go on to the USA where his jazz heroes were enjoying the Golden Age of Jazz. He got no further than Birmingham.

Settling in Birmingham he formed his own band The Blue Notes.

At the age of 72 his debut album "Silvershine" was released to universal acclaim, it became the biggest selling UK Jazz Album the Year, was one of the 50 Sony International recordings of the year and was named as The Times Jazz Album of The Year.

His passion for music and enthusiasm for teaching has led to the establishment of the Ladywood Community School of Music, offering people of all ages the chance to learn from the great legend of Jazz.

Andy has become a local celebrity. Even at 85 he regularly plays at civic functions, organised nights and opened venues across the Birmingham.

Vote for your favourite...

As part of Black History Month 2004 the BBC Birmingham website asked readers to vote for who do they thought was the greatest black sports, music or TV personality to come out of Birmingham and the Black Country?

Take a look at our reader votes
and comments

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